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tv   CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley  CBS  August 23, 2011 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT

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it's in a well known seismic zone known as a central virginia seismic zone. what to note about this earthquake and the context of past earthquakes in this area is that this is unusually large for this seismic zone. the largest earthquake in that seismic zone that has been measured is in the upper magnitude range. so this earthquake is significantly larger, roughly 1 magnitude unit larger. but large earthquakes in the east, roughly magnitude 5.9 have been observed in virginia in 1897. about 150 miles west of where this earthquake occurred in giles county. and that was not based on
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instrumental recordings, but on damage in the central area and how far away the earthquake was felt basically what's called macroseismic information. we know it was roughly about the same as this earthquake. so putting it into perspective, you know, these earthquakes occur relatively close in time. but earthquakes in both of these areas in central virginia and southern colorado are not unexpected and the details on these earthquakes in terms of style of faulting are consistent with what we know about the geology and geophysics. at this time, what i'll do is have dr. tony crone talk about the zones and then we'll get to dr. david wald talking about the description of the
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earthquake engineering aspects of these effort earthquakes, and particular the virginia earthquake and its implications for assessing and understanding broad scale hazards. tony. >> thank you. i would like to start off by reiterating what harley said. these two earthquakes have located in places where we have seen historical earthquakes. the events near trinidad and at that time of the 2001 earthquakes, the swarm that occurred there, we deployed a team of geophysicists who set up a network of about 12 portable instruments and were able to accurately locate and determine the depth of those earthquakes and the kind of fault motion that generated
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those earthquakes. and that kind of motion is consistent with normal faults where the crust is being pulled apart and two sides of the fault slide, one side against the other. >> i'm sorry, our conference call dropped. we have to call back in. >> we have been listening into the live press conference dealing not just with this earthquake that we experienced in virginia, but a swarm, a cluster of earthquakes in southern colorado that has been going on from last night into today. the big news for our area is this is an unusual large one and many of us have never experienced anything quite like it. >> significantly larger than anything we have experienced. we said the largest in this area in the central virginia seismic zone within the high 4's, this was 5.8, which topper was telling us earlier.
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that means this was ten times stronger than the strongest one we've had before in this area. >> adrian wheeler is the director for health and homeland security and adrian, you're saying just in case people are just joining us, we handled this well as far as a region, as far as the response to this earthquake. >> we did, absolutely. from what i heard, no one panicked. first responders did their jobs, made quick assessments. assured no major damage occurred and got the word out. >> let me talk about a problem a lot of people have been talking about. things were handled smoothly. people did what they were supposed to do and the people and fire and ems did what they were supposed to do, but cell phones were a problem. is that a problem at this point unavoidable? >> i think so. when you are dealing with the massive number of people that we have in this region trying to make calls to their friends, the systems are over loaded.
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it's going to take years and dollars to beef up the system to make, withstand the mass number of people who are going to be on their phones during crises like this. if you don't need to make a call, please don't so first responders and people who are in desperate need of help can call the proper authorities to get that help. >> texting is easier. >> it takes up less space, so text messages are going to go through more likely. >> and adrian, your center helps governments get ready not just for natural disasters, but terrorist attacks. given our cities, our region's sensitivity after 9/11, is it kind of surprising that people didn't panic more or was it because of the brief the brevity of this event? >> we experienced crises year in and year out. once people got their bearings
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after the rumbling and the shaking so to speak stopped. people realized it was likely an earthquake. let's make sure there's no major damage to our friends and loved ones and continue our daily lives. >> i'll ask another question, does today illustrate we are as a region better off, better prepared for natural disasters because of what happened? >> yes, we are better prepared before hurricane katrina. since 2005, we have made tremendous strides. we have done test training exercises that have insured that we are prepared. however, we're not where we need to be. funding is drying up. agencies are being forced to cut back on services, being forced to not continue our programs of test training and exercises. agencies need that funding to ensure we are continued to be
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prepared. >> where would you say our biggest challenges are, as far as the population and how dense we are here in the dc metro area and when people have to get out quickly, how difficult is that? >> i think at this point it's going to be a joint effort between government and the citizens to make sure that people are on the road to really need to be on the road. if you don't need to go to the store to get that gallon of milk immediately. if you don't need to make that drive to the movie, stay off the road. let people get home so we aren't clogging the roads unnecessarily. i know that's going to be tough to do, but if we all pitch in, i think it contributes to a greater good. >> where else do you think there are some -- what other areas that could use some work? >> in terms of inner operably. making sure first responders have the proper channels and can communicate. >> that was the issue during
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9/11. >> we have made strides. certainly have better communication systems and can communicate with their partner agencies better than we were before 9/11. that funding issue, agencies need those dollars if we want to make sure we are prepared. >> today's earthquake illustrates the importance of different agencies talking to each other, because this went all the way from virginia or georgia all the way to toronto. a will the of different agencies have to talk to each other. >> absolutely. it's a joint effort, not just among government agencies, but with our private sector partners. it's all agencies, other organizations, citizens coming together, as i have just been saying to ensure a proper response to a crisis. >> and we did hear from workers who are saying their companies had specific and effective evacuation plans, many of them since 9/11 and those were executed today. >> absolutely. at the center, we stress all hazard plans that are flexible
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enough to be used in whatever crisis occurs, whether it's an earthquake, like what happened today, whether it's a fire or whether it's a hurricane or whether it's a manmade disaster like a terrorist event. if your plan is flexible enough, it will be effective. it will be useful. >> adrian . thank you very much. >> we mentioned the congestion. let's talk to monica to see if st roads are getting any better? no, we're not going to go to monica right now? yes, we will. earlier we saw some key hot spots. i-395, right? >> 395 was our big hot spot and here's what it looks like now. what a relief. i think once vdot decided to raise or lift the hov restrictions, everything got better along 395, 95, and even on 66. so that is the good news. we're going to head over to the mdot camera. i think now the west side and
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north side of town are going to be the worst of it. we had an accident on the outer loop of the american legion bridge. left delays coming around the bend from the temple. all the way down tyson's corner and on the inner loop, it's the same thing. i say basically between tysons and the be bethesda area, it's going to be a half hour ride. that's the worst of it. let's take a look at a map. overall, anita, you and i have been looking at this map all afternoon and look at how much better it looks. you have a few red spots now, like on the bw parkway east side of town.  there was an accident on 295 as well on bening road and authorities are looking quickly to clear that up as well. you know, i was looking at my facebook page and one of my facebook friends, chris, he commented that next time there's a disaster in dc, walk out of town because our city
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cannot manage traffic. but as our guests said, the agencies, emergency crews, police, they all did a great job, but the problem is that when everyone is leaving town at exactly the same time, our roads cannot handle the volume. i want to hear from you if you go to our facebook page, like us, and comment about the traffic. were you stuck in traffic? tell me about your experience and let's have a discussion about that. otherwise things are looking much, much better around town as you can see, especially leaving the district across the bridges. by the way, if you were planning to head across the wilson bridge later tonight, they did decide to go ahead with their scheduled opening. otherwise no major accidents to report right now. things are looking much better. back to you guys. >> thanks a lot, monica. >> leave it to mother nature to give us something to talk about. >> a whole lot of talking, posting, tweeting has been going on. we have our brittany morehouse
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tracking some of your facebook posts to our page. >> the quake is left some serious damage to our homes. fans showed us these pictures. chris garrett is in stafford county. he said the foundation has cracked on north, south, and east sides. he has counted eight cracks so far and in prince georges county, the pile of bricks next to the family's house. if you have anymore pictures, send them to our facebook page. we are getting messages from people who live in virginia close to the epicenter as well as people from chattanooga, tennessee. buddy has been watching us live streaming and he says he checks his application, his wusa application when the earthquake struck. look at this website. it's a facebook page that just sprung up, 11,000 members. it is i survived the earthquake
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of 8/23 and people logging on from high point, north carolina, spotsylvania, you have louisa, virginia, bell air, maryland, leesburg, and one gentleman from florida who said i didn't feel anything, i left out. that's what is going on. another facebook page blowing up. >> brittany in louisa, virginia being the epicenter. as we talked about was felt up and don't east coast this afternoon, danielle nottingham brings us more. >> a 5.8 earthquake rattled a camera focused on the white house. when the ground started moving, emergency officials evacuated the white house and capital. people from north carolina to new york felt the grand ground shake. the tremors stopped a news conference in its tracks and everyone ran from the building.
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the earthquake forced thousands of people into city streets. the whole building started shaking. we got up and started shaking. we all got dizzy and ran out. >> we were freaked out a little bit. it was a surreal experience. >> the u.s. geological survey reports the epicenter was between charlottesville and richmond near mineral, virginia. officials say earthquakes along the east coast don't happen often. >> they could happen anywhere in the united states from built up stresses. they are much rarer, but they do happen. >> quake was felt for hundreds of miles and crews are fanning out to survey the damage. in baltimore, the earthquake caused the side of a building to crumble. president barack obama was on the golf course when the earthquake hit. the white house says he checked in with his top advisers. the quake did not cause any major damage. the experts sate east coast should expect aftershocks. danielle nottingham, cbs news,
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washington. and as topper was telling us, we had two small aftershocks. experts continue to watch out for those and we want to thank all of you who took the time to share your stories and pictures. jennifer mccormick sent us this picture and glass everywhere. oh no, what a mess. tara tells us her mother-in-law in maine felt the tremor. heather edwards said waldorf shook like a rag dole. first heard a small rumble, but grew to loud roar. boom, it hit, omg. and we are here in culpeper, cub board doors flying open. went outside and big dog's water dish, the water was waving back and forth. neighbors had pictures flying off the walls, frightened the
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dogs. you and see a slide show of all the pictures. we have it at just check out the box right there on our home page and share some of yours as well. >> topper joins us once again. you have been three earthquakes? >> one in tennessee, two here, maybe three. this was significant. the biggest one was back in 1886. and that was a 7.3. >> for this area. >> for the whole east coast. if you go to south carolina, they have the buildings down there. so that gives you an idea. this was 5.8. that would be over ten times stronger. that would be crazy. let's talk about weather. that is geology. we'll talk about meteorology for a moment. >> there's a that irene thing. >> she is a big thing right now. winds are 90 miles per hour. she's going to rake the bahamas. she is headed right through all
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the bahamas. they will have winds from 90 to 110 miles per hour, depending on what part of the bahamas you talking about. a category 1. probably headed for a category 3 in the not too distant future. by wednesday at 2:00, winds will be 110. that will be a high end category 2 storm. 111 is the tipping point that makes it a category 3. probably goes to the east of na saw, which is a good deal. when you have a track like this, the highest winds are on the northeast quadrants of the storm. the highest wents will be to the right of this line. that's good news for some of the bahamas. good news for florida, it's much further away from the coast of florida than it was yesterday. all of the models are indicating this. most of them are in good agreement that the storm is going to go further east. that's good for our friends in georgia and south carolina. not so good for our friends along the outer banks and not
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good for our ocean resorts. if it were to take this track by 2:00 on sunday, a little north of us. by early sunday morning, there could be hurricane force winds. that includes ocean city and bethany and dewey and that area. and also means maybe some tropical storm forced winds all the way back into the bay. but also means the heaviest rain will be confined eastward and we may get out of the mix, an escape with light shower activity. either way, when it goes this far east, it takes tornadoes off the table. as for ivan, isabella went west of us, that's when we get the severe weather. 8 # right now. speck tack spectacular. 81 down in fredericksburg. pretty nice. so looking at another break. rest the ac. cool again tonight.
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pleasant. hot for thursday. and there is a chance for a shower or thursday during the redskin game. and irene, if she were to affect us would be over the weekend saturday night into sunday morning. for tonight though, clear skies again, cool, spectacular. open the windows, 55 to 65 and winds out of the south. so lows tonight, even inside the beltway, we're talking mid 60s. 57 in rockville. 56 in gaithersburg. 59 in bowie. nice stuff really. 58 in fairfax and reston. mid 50s again in leesburg and middle burg and manassas. by morning, a cool start. 60s and 70s. air quality bumps up to code yellow, which is moderate. by afternoon, partly cloudy, pleasantly warm, still a very nice day. high temperatures in the mid 80s. winds out of the south at about 10. so let's break it down. 55 to 65 tomorrow morning.
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grab your shades. 78 to 82. great by noon. and 82 to 86 by 5:00. still a great day. maybe a few more clouds, but a great day. heating up a bit. near 90 on thursday. these storms are from a cold front. nothing to do with irene. it could impact the skins game. on friday, we are in good shape. i'll keep a drop and this drop is related to irene. possibly into southern maryland. and temperatures go back into the mid 80s. next seven days, well friday i think we are okay and saturday and sunday really is dependent on irene. i think by and large, the heaviest rain fall will be bay eastward. 85 to 86. and then on monday, temperatures back in the upper 80s with sunshine and tuesday sunshine with temperatures around 90. something else with irene, up
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and down the eastern sea board, we'll have rip currents and i know people are going to the beach. so watch the kids in the water with that. and if you're a surfer, don't do anything silly. okay? because you know -- >> really powerful, right? >> our waves will pick up noticeably on friday. >> all right. >> how is the dedication for the memorial on sunday? >> that's a tough call. with that track, it might be okay. if it tracks further west, maybe not. >> a lot of people hanging on your every word. >> i know, the pressure is on. >> sure is. thanks a lot. >> well the guy who normally sits in this seat, derek mcginty was supposed to be anchoring tonight in front of the martin luther king memorial, but the earthquake struck and he finds himself anchoring live down there at the national mall, which has been evacuated, or was a little while ago. >> you look lonely down there, derek. >> it is lonely. and i have to tell you guys, i'm so gratified to hear that
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topper say there may be a break on the irene situation and the dedication at the memorial this sunday just might be okay. that is the good news out of tonight at least. also though, we should note this was one of the most frightening things that happened in quite some time. i want to share a text message i got from a friend of mine. she says damage done here at my building, you could see pockets in the water. ceilings fell, i have never been so scared in my life. i think a lot of washingtonens felt that way this afternoon. even though there was not a lot of damage and obviously right now, we believe there were not a lot of injuries. down here on the mall, we are left with questions. for example, is the washington monument okay? the park service says they are not absolutely sure about that. they couldn't find any damages. they flew around it this afternoon, but it is closed for now and they don't know when it's going to be reopened. what about the other monuments? the jefferson, lincoln, they
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may reopen at any time. they may be okay. the capital building, as we heard from bruce leshan, may have faced some fairly significant damage. again the inspection and the assessment goes on tonight. a lot of good luck in terms of injuries. there were damages and how much, i guess people have been damaged. we are. andrea mckaren has been watching it through the afternoon from our newsroom talking. hospital, schools, trying to gauge where some of the worse damage was and culpeper was hard hit. andrea. >> culpeper is just 34 miles from mineral, virginia. the epicenter. culpeper announced that not only is the school system closed for tomorrow, it is closed until further notice. also closed tomorrow, louisa county schools, closer to that
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epicenter. in virginia, we just learned as well that fauquier county schools have canceled class for tomorrow. and closed for all activity. a lot of other schools across our area have canceled afternoon and evening activities. if jo you have something planned, be sure to check it out. we have information coming in from prince georges county schools. we understand several inspectors are on site checking facilities, checking school buildings. we know that 37 schools in prince georges county have suffered some type of damage. we understand it is likely just to be minor structural damage, perhaps ceiling tiles that have fallen. also in prince georges county, we are getting word that five high-rise apartment buildings have been evacuated based on structural concerns. also discovered, a major crack in a wall at the county courthouse in upper marlboro. but again, as you mentioned, culpeper county has suffered
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the greatest damage. in fact, a state of emergency has been declared. a shelter has been opened up by the red cross at the salem fire department for all residents. three buildings in the town of culpeper have been condemned. one of them suffered some type of damage that led to one person being taken to the culpeper hospital. we don't know what condition that person is in and finally, something interesting you don't often think about is the prison in an event of an emergency. the culpeper county, adult detention center, which is the county jail was evacuated after the earthquake. because of structural damage to the building, 80 inmates have been relocated to other regional correctional facilities. finally, virginia state police troopers are still blocking ramps into the town of culpeper. just off of u.s. 29 to make sure they are keeping tractor trailers from entering the
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area. again, because of concerns of the roadways, potential building damage, anything that might fall. we know there were several injuries, thankfully all of them minor. a lot of structural damage, but the bottom line is this, the basic infrastructure across our area is good. no major structural damage at the white house. president obama is getting regular updates. no major damage to virginia or maryland, safe roads. basically we have a lot of good news to report tonight and again, no major injuries. back to you. >> all right andrea, lots of good information. thanks so much, we'll see you in a bit. >> sky nine is over the scene. this is a building on old courthouse road and basically you're looking at some condos and an office building. there's a nail salon inside and as you can see, those cars are the ones that took the brunt of the damage when literally, that
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part of the wall collapsed and sky nine giving us a bird's eye view of the damage that was done with just a few seconds of that shaking you can see how the damage was limited to that one side. no idea why a couple people guessing the wave of the earthquake hit that one side. you can get a sense from that picture it was just that one side. look at that damage on those cars. just so unbelievable and so fortunate nobody is coming out at the time the earthquake hit. >> we saw similar damage in baltimore, where again, you had literally bricks raining down and no one seriously hurt there as well. we have heard from a couple hospitals. there was a fracture treated, things like that. overall, much of the structure was sound. >> i ran outside, i was expecting bricks all over the place. and fortunately nothing like
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that. i was helpless. >> it's unnerving. >> nobody felt anything like that before. you don't know. >> not in our generation. not since 1886 or something like that. >> and the survey, just a short time ago from golden, colorado, was saying this earthquake was 5.8. essentially the largest one before this was in the high 4's. which means this was ten times, which is incredible. >> the big, big one was in 1886, which was 7.3, which we don't want to talk about. >> topper, lindsey mastis has mayor vincent gray talking about d.c.'s response to this earthquake. >> reporter: hi, i'm lindsey mastis. i'm here with the mayor. you were at the epicenter where all the 911 calls are coming in. tell me what you are hearing. >> first of all, we gathered all of our team, as we do when something unusual happens and we worked on deploying people.
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we got an assessment of the situation. we sent out structural engineers to our schools, our recreation centers and government office buildings and they have been out for the last 2, 2 1/2 hours and the next several hours to get a real assessment as to whether there's any serious damage or not. >> and this was something so unexpected. when first of all, did you feel it yourself? >> i did. i was sitting in the car. we were leaving the martin luther king, jr., memorial. i said iowa guys, didn't you get the car checked out? it turned out, of course, to be the earthquake and the tremors lasted for 45 seconds. found out it was, you know, anywhere from 5.8 to 6.0 on the scale. >> describe to me what goes on inside this building. this is one of those areas where if you look up on the roof, you see all of those satellites and basically you have all of this communication coming


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